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Future Islands' New Album Stays Smooth, Even As Veins Bulge

Future Islands' new fifth album is titled <em>The Far Field</em>.
Future Islands' new fifth album is titled <em>The Far Field</em>.

When Future Islands singer Samuel T. Herring performs, he mixes vein-bulging intensity with a curious kind of smoothness — the kind that, when it accompanies sweet dance moves, can launch a thousand GIFs in a single hip-sway. Memorable appearances on late-night TV helped make a left-field hit out of 2014's Singles and its best-known song, "Seasons (Waiting On You)," and now Future Islands' fifth album — The Far Field, out today — aims to duplicate that success.

Once again, the band sets the instantly identifiable singer's pleas atop chugging arrangements that meet at the midpoint between rock and synth-pop. And once again, Future Islands' secret weapon is a kind of fearless sincerity — in its lyrics, in its propulsive urgency and, yes, in its frontman's willingness to throw himself into performances with guileless passion. It'll take a few listens to digest the words enough to sing them, but you'll almost certainly be dancing along in no time.

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